Still just 28 years old, Tabata will be looking to spark a career revival in Toronto. Once a highly promising young talent, he was shipped to the Dodgers in the middle of the 2015 season in a bad-contract swap that sent Michael Morse back to the Pirates.
After two solid seasons to start his MLB career with the Bucs, Tabata signed an extension that the club hoped would deliver surplus value over its lengthy term (six guaranteed years with three options). But he struggled in the first season after signing and never developed into more than a part-time player in Pittsburgh. Hopes were raised by a solid 2013 campaign, in which he slashed .282/.342/.429 over 341 plate appearances, but Tabata fell off sharply thereafter.
Los Angeles paid down the remainder of the deal when it cut Tabata loose last summer, wrapping things up with a $250K buyout of a 2017 club option. He had failed to earn a return to the majors after a tepid start to the 2016 season at Triple-A, though he did exhibit his typically high-quality approach during a stint in the Mexican League. In 123 plate appearances for Quintana Roo, Tabata slashed .320/.439/.410 while drawing 18 walks against just 13 strikeouts.